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New B&Q CEO needs good strategy in tough market

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Home and DIY retailer B&Q’s new CEO for UK & Ireland Martyn Phillips must quickly develop a clear strategy in what is becoming an increasingly squeezed sector of the retail industry, according to retail expert Neil Saunders.

The Verdict Research Consulting Director said Phillips is entering one of the top jobs in the sector at a time it is experiencing very little growth, if any at all, and will have to draw on his experience of the DIY market to ensure the firm makes progress.

“He knows the business well which gives him a strong start,” Saunders told Retail Gazette.

“With the DIY market in the fragile state, it is good that B&Q has appointed someone with detailed knowledge of the sector and not parachuted someone in from elsewhere.”

His comments come after B&Q’s parent company Kingfisher announced on Friday that Phillips, who has been at the group for 17 years, would take on the new role with immediate effect.

Reporting to Kingfisher’s Group CEO Euan Sutherland, former B&Q Operations Director Phillips will lead the development of the retailer as part of a new-look leadership team.

Until now Sutherland had held responsibility for B&Q, but his group commercial responsibilities have increased over the last year, prompting the reorganisation of the senior management structure.

Reflecting on the potential issues facing the team, Saunders said that a shrinking home & DIY sector will pose significant challenges despite B&Q’s strong market position.

“B&Q is safe within the sector - it is a dominant player and has every possibility of growing sales further,” he noted.

“The sector is too crowded though as it has grown against buoyant consumer demand, which no longer remains.

“Inevitably there could be some casualties in the marketplace in the year ahead, most likely in terms of store reduction, but it could be in the form of a big player in the market.”

Published on Monday 18 April by Editorial Assistant

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